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Friday, September 9, 2011

Elizabeth Block, Potter & Craftswoman

Elizabeth Block is a talented potter and one of the 100 Mile Finds vendors who will be joining us at Evergreen Brickworks for Culture Days on Saturday Oct. 1. According to Elizabeth, "I think I always wanted to learn to throw on the potter's wheel. I didn't do it at New York City's High School of Music and Art, and I certainly didn't do it at Radcliffe College (it has a pottery studio now, but it didn't when I was there). Finally, in 1974, I did it at the Potters Studio, which was then on Dupont Street in Toronto. I was briefly a member of the pottery studio at Rochdale (anyone remember Rochdale? Toronto's hippie "alternative university" of the late 60's), where there were kick wheels with no catch basins (!), and your pots might be fired sometime or other or they might not; but I got a lot of practice on the wheel at the time I needed it".
Since that adventurous start, Elizabeth has been selling wholesale for fifteen years.
"I work almost exclusively on the wheel - I seem to like the formal discipline it imposes. Most of my work is elegant, tasteful, sophisticated, designed never to go out of fashion - but occasionally I indulge my whimsy by making such things as coin banks in the shape of animals. I get a kick out of figuring out how to make these creatures - a loon, for instance - on the wheel. Just about all my work is functional, even the pieces that are primarily decorative. I think there is a certain dignity in the kind of craftsmanship that produces things that are to be used".

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